December 13th, 2018

Life Hacks

Power foods for your busy life

Lara Rosenbaum

By Lara Rosenbaum

Published March 7, 2018

Power foods for your busy life
You know not to eat cheese fries before getting on a roller coaster, or to chug a giant iced tea before squeezing into a window seat for a long flight. But what about all those other situations where you need to stay on top of your game?

Here are some strategies that may help you power through whatever you're up against.

Stay hydrated on a long flight.

To counteract the dry, recycled air on a flight, bring an empty water bottle that you can fill up before you board, and strive for hydrating foods before and during your flight, like a smoothie, a bowl of soup or a piece of fruit.

Refuel before your big presentation.

Need to stay focused and think on your feet? Try half a turkey sandwich, coffee and a stick of gum. A small coffee may help you focus without delivering a huge jolt to your system. "The turkey provides protein, giving you some slow-burning energy without having too much food in your stomach," says Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The gum? Research has shown that chewing gum may help improve attention and alertness, enhance your mood and even help your cognitive performance.

Dine before you slip into a two-piece.

When you're about to brave a bikini, your best bet may be to include a spinach salad or a banana with your meal. Consuming 200 milligrams or more of potassium can help flush bloat-causing fluids from your system, explains Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D., author of Doctor's Detox Diet. A large banana contains nearly 500 milligrams of the mineral, and a cup of fresh spinach packs more than 800.

Get kiss-worthy breath.

You've got a romantic date planned, but that pesto you ate seems to be lingering. The solution: down some milk. According to Ohio State University researchers, milk can reduce the presence of allyl methyl sulfide -- a compound in garlic that makes your breath smell bad. Just don't forget to brush your teeth once you're done with the dairy.

Prep for a 5K or 10K race.

All your training won't mean much if you hit the wall halfway through the course. To continually power your working muscles, you need about 50 grams of carbohydrates two to three hours before start time, Bonci says. "Oatmeal is easy to digest because of its soluble fiber content." Balance out those carbs by making your oatmeal with milk or soy milk, which contain about 8 grams of slower-digesting protein per cup.

Find stamina for a day trip or shopping spree.

When you'll be on your feet for hours, go for an omelet with a side of fruit and avocado. A breakfast that's packed with protein and provides some carbohydrates and healthy fats will deliver steady energy for hours.

Breakfast before an early-morning sweat session.

Fuel up half an hour before you start your workout by pouring 8 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice into a large glass, then topping it off with a little water for extra hydration. If you can wait an hour to work out, have a serving of low-fat Greek yogurt too. It's a good source of protein, which gives you sustained energy and keeps muscle mass from getting depleted during exercise.